"Jíbaro" is often translated as "peasant," but in Puerto Rico the epithet is full of affection for the straightforwardness, humility, and hard work of countrymen who live off the land. The term has also attached itself to one particular product of their labors, the plantain, and dishes like jíbaro en canoa (He-bah-row en kah-No-ah; $2). This sweet, ripe "canoe" was split and top-loaded with ground beef, olives, and peppers, and swamped by my server with several complimentary ladles of "gravy" — in effect, adding a small order of potato-and-carrot stew.
A wider-angle view of the counter near the register, where I sat, would reveal where swaths of blue have been gradually worn away by staff and customers. Much diligent cooking and eating is done here.
Previously: Cuchifritos, the snacks that decorate the windows of many Puerto Rican lunch counters, are inevitably fried (frito) but may or may not entail pig (cuchí). A rellena de amarilla (ray-Yay-nah day ah-mah-Ree-yah; below; $1) wrapped a thin layer of fried ripe plantain around a filling of smashed potato and shredded meat.
La Isla Cuchifritos
6 Graham Ave. (near Broadway and Flushing Ave.), Bushwick, Brooklyn